Court favours Optus, rules Telstra's "unlimited" ads were misleading

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Court favours Optus, rules Telstra's "unlimited" ads were misleading

The Federal Court of Australia has ruled that Telstra’s advertisements for its unlimited data plans are misleading, granting Optus’ request for injunctive relief to prevent Telstra’s use of the ads.

Judge Gleeson said the advertisement containing the words “One word from Australia’s best mobile network: Unlimited” falsely conveyed that Telstra offered mobile products that were unlimited on either the data speeds, volume of data that can be downloaded at unrestricted speeds, or a user’s ability to download data without interruption or delay.

“[Telstra] has engaged in and is engaging in conduct that is misleading or deceptive and likely to mislead or deceive in contravention of section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL),” the judgement read.

The court ordered that the proceeding be listed for Optus’ claims for further relief and that Telstra pay for Optus’ costs of the proceeding to date.

“Optus welcomes the result,” a spokesperson from Optus told CRN.

“Optus took this action because it felt the advertisement was likely to mislead consumers and our actions have been comprehensively vindicated by this judgement.”

Optus took Telstra to court earlier this week over the advertisements, claiming that the use of “unlimited” had no qualification or explanation accompanying it.

Telstra said the use of “unlimited” in the context of the ad conveys “nothing definitive, doing no more than [to] cause a viewer to wonder about its meaning”, and that the ads themselves are just “teasers” meant to “foster intrigue and arouse attention through consumer curiosity” rather than conveying a clear message or statement to customers.

“We will comply with the Federal Court decision, which applies to only a small part of our overall advertising and promotional material for our mobile data plans,” a spokesperson from Telstra told CRN.

“We will carefully consider the judgment before deciding our next steps.”

The court action marked the end of the second bout in a battle of semantics for the two telcos, after Telstra took Optus to court earlier this month over an ad campaign involving speed claims.

The Supreme Court of Victoria went in Telstra's favour, granting it an interlocutory relief against Optus' ad campaign.

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